Nothing Changes Unless We Speak Up.

17 Oct

I am taking a bit of a departure in this blog post, but I think it is important. For those of you who have read my first novel, Poppy Days you will know that it deals among other things about bullying. Although Poppy Days is a novel, the bullying was based on my own experiences.
It all happened over forty years ago, and yet it is still often too painful for me to recall and speak about. However, October is bullying awareness month. Another child this time in Canada has taken her own life because of bullies. Something needs to change.
I was a teenager in the 1970’s and I went to an all girls school. I was the small quiet, timid kid who was afraid of her own shadow. Consequently, I got picked on. I got picked on every single day, for five years. All the horrible things I describe in Poppy Days actually happened. I was spat at. No one spoke to me, except to say snide derogatory comments. I was pushed, shoved, tripped down stairs.I had my homework nicked. It was hell. I had no one I felt I could tell. None of the teachers cared. Some even joined in with the bullying, especially my maths teacher. To this day, I still panic if I have to do any thing mathematical. My teacher used to love hauling me out infront of the whole class and order me to solve an equation she had written on the blackboard. She knew I couldn’t do it. She also knew I was being bullied and laughed when the other pupils in the class mocked me as I stood helplessly in front of that board.
Yes, it was hell, and yes, it took me years and years to get over it. I attempted suicide. I have never admitted this in public before. I don’t want sympathy, I just want people to realise that bullying really is that serious.
People have asked me why I didn’t speak out. The answer is simple. I was terrified. I couldn’t see it ever stopping.
I am writing this because sadly, it is still a seemingly never ending nightmare for too many. It only ended for me because I woke up one day and refused to go to school. I never returned. I lost the last year of my education, but I got my life back.
Any one who is or has been bullied will understand how desperate I felt. I hope this post will help some of you who may have a child going through a terrible time. If they cannot speak out, YOU must. If the school will not listen or take action, then you have to get your child out of there. I wish with all my heart I had had the courage to tell someone. I never did when it was happening to me. It breaks my heart that nothing much has changed since my bad old days. No child deserves to be driven to suicide because death is a better option than bullying. That is a damning judgement on us all.
As for me, well, I suppose I did speak out really. I wrote about it in my novel, and in my book, I got my revenge. I was able to take control, and made my character do all the things I so badly wanted to do in real life, but was too afraid to do. My protagonist meted out her own form of justice. When I wrote that, it exorcised all sorts of ghosts for me. I finally felt free. It was a wonderful feeling.
I hope that any one suffering at the hands of bullies finds the courage to make it stop, and that they too can be set free.

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2 Responses to “Nothing Changes Unless We Speak Up.”

  1. Sheryl Browne October 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Powerful post, Debra! You’re speaking out now – for others. Maybe people who have children in their ‘care’ will look a little bit closer because of it. Well done you! 🙂 xx

    • wordswithyouDebbie Ingram October 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      Thank you for your comment, Sheryl. It breaks my heart every time I hear about another child suffering at the hands of bullies. Parents, carers teachers have to look for the signs and do something before it’s too late. xx

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